Life from death

Made famous by Kevin Costner’s film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, the Sycamore Gap tree stood for 300 years. That was until persons unknown decided to cut it down. Over the years thousands had made the journey to Hadrian’s Wall to take its photo and to have their photo taken with it. So, the shock and dismay at this mindless act of vandalism was felt around the world. Seemingly the tree was gone forever. Well not quite. Within hours of its felling seeds, twigs and leaves from the tree had arrived at a secret greenhouse in Devon where they have been lovingly nurtured into life. The stump itself may sprout new growth but if it doesn’t dozens of new saplings are waiting in the wings.

The people of God in the Old Testament were similarly shocked and dismayed when their land was invaded, and their Temple destroyed. It seemed as if all hope had gone. But God wasn’t finished with them yet. In Isaiah 11 God makes a promise that ‘a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit’ That shoot was Jesus the Saviour of the world whose death and resurrection we will remember and celebrate next week.

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